* take nothing for granted    
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2021

Who is Online

We have 68 guests and no members online

Article Index



Malaysia's entire infrastructure is of a high standard.  The Airport to Kuala Lumpur is undergoing significant upgrade.  It is already a very workable Airport both for the domestic and international flights.  The Airport at Penang was of a similarly high quality.  It is possible to check-in your bags at Kuala Lumpur central station and take a high speed train to the Airport.  We used this for our return flight and it is much faster than catching a cab to the Airport.  Kuala Lumpurhasa developing metro, in addition to high speed heavy rail connections, and it has a complimentary monorail system that, unlike Sydney's, goes in both directions.  The city already has a number of high quality expressways and more under construction.  There does seem to be an over investment in the car, many of which are the locally produced Proton.  In the city, cars and motorbikes are in roughly equal numbers but in the countryside cars and trucks predominate.  The cabs run on LPG but petrol too is very cheap; still around 70¢ Australian a litre.  Malaysia is a major oil producer.

The other infrastructure feature that is always very obvious is the electricity grid.  In Malaysia this appears to encompass several generations of high voltage transmission towers.  The older system I took to be 330 kV like ours; but checking the web tells me that it is 275 kV.  Some of these towers are very tall carrying 12 cable strands on six crossbars.  But in addition there is a new 500 kV system running the length of the peninsula that appears to be at least as technically advanced as our new 500 kV system.  A little Web research informs me that the length of the main Malaysian grid is around the same as the grid in New South Wales.  According to the Web current annual electricity demand is around 100 TWh (terawatt hours) growing at about 1.7% pa (62.6% gas, 20.9% coal, 9.5% hydro and 7% from other forms of fuel).  This compares to New South Wales at just over 73 TWh (94.8% coming from fossil (black coal and gas) 4.7% from hydro electricity; 0.3% from biomass and biogas and 0.2% from wind) and growing at around 1.5% pa.  Malaysia has just under four times the New South Wales population and, it follows, lower electricity consumption per capita.  Interestingly for New South Wales, their new and largest power station is coal-fired to reduce the previous dependence on gas.

Everywhere you look in Malaysia there is new construction.  Acres and acres of what looked like McMansions and luxury high-rise buildings; new expressways; vast new shopping malls.




As we drove around the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Malacca we certainly saw some shabby buildings and second rate accommodation and some people are obviously poor.  There are few beggars and almost everywhere is clean; with very little rubbish or untidiness; except for the untidiness of the numerous building sites.  And everywhere there are job advertisements; often long lists of staff wanted.  Public Parks and amenities are particularly well cared for and even the nature strips between divided carriageways are maintained like parkland, with topiary shrubs and bushes. 

There are of course some exceptions to this tidiness.  The Batu caves near Kuala Lumpur conceal heaps of rubbish stuffed into every corner; behind every screen.  Just like India.  These ancient caves were once mined for their bat guano by local people.  They were discovered for Europeans by the American Naturalist William Hornaday in 1878 and subsequently taken over, in part, as a Hindu temple.  There is a large cavern with the inactive stalactites, smaller but reminiscent of the 'Devil's Coach House' at Jenolan Caves in NSW, that has a number of Hindu shrines installed.  In a side cave, that has been left in its natural state, it is possible to take traditional speleological tours, with helmet, lamps and boots.  The caves, but not the tours, are free to visit but they are reached by some 300 steps and there is no lift.  We were surprised to meet quite elderly people, as well as small children, at the top coming back down.




In addition to litterers, Malaysia also has a criminal element.  We were told that there are some areas in Penang that are dangerous after dark and we were almost the victims of a motorcycle bag-snatch in Malacca.  Fortunately Wendy's bag was firmly over her shoulder and only her camera case was torn off the strap; the camera falling to the ground un-broken.


    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item








When we talked of going to Hawaii for a couple of weeks in February 2018 several of our friends enthusiastically recommended it. To many of them it's a nice place to go on holidays - a little further to go than Bali but with a nicer climate, better beaches and better shopping - with bargains to be had at the designer outlets.




To nearly one and a half million racially diverse Hawaiians it's home.



Downtown Hilo


To other Americans it's the newest State, the only one thousands of miles from the North American Continent, and the one that's more exotic than Florida.

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

To Catch a Thief

(or the case of the missing bra)




It's the summer of 2010; the warm nights are heavy with the scent of star jasmine; sleeping bodies glisten with perspiration; draped, as modestly requires, under a thin white sheet.  A light breeze provides intermittent comfort as it wafts fitfully through the open front door. 

Yet we lie unperturbed.   To enter the premises a nocturnal visitor bent on larceny, or perhaps an opportunistic dalliance, must wend their way past our parked cars and evade a motion detecting flood-light on the veranda before confronting locked, barred doors securing the front and rear entrances to the house.

Yet things are going missing. Not watches or wallets; laptops or phones; but clothes:  "Did you put both my socks in the wash?"  "Where's my black and white striped shirt?" "I seem to be missing several pairs of underpants!"

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

More nuclear medicine




As a follow-up to my radiation treatment for prostate cancer, that I reported here as: Medical fun and games, I recently underwent a PET scan, to check that all is well. 

When I first heard of them I imagined that a PET scan was a more generic all-encompassing version of a CAT scan - perhaps one involving dogs and rabbits; or even goldfish?

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright